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Friday, March 6, 2015

The Chair, The Cross, and This Thing called Faith

On March 26, 2010, the Chicago Tribune reported that Chicago Cubs first baseman Derek Lee had been injured during a pregame meal when the chair he was sitting in gave way, causing him to fall to the floor. "He was eating before the game and the chair just collapsed on him," manager Lou Piniella said, Derek Lee would only miss a couple games; however, I can assure you that Mr. Lee will be much more careful when choosing which chair he will be sitting on in the future, why? because his faith in that chair has ben crippled. Because of this encounter with this particular chair, Derek Lee’s faith has forever been altered, so let’s talk about faith and the chair.

Faith, what is it? Well according to the Bible, it's the substance of things hoped for with the evidence of things unseen. (Hebrews 11:1) So, what does this mean, and why is it so important? Well, to answer the first part of the question, we must simply examine the average wooden chair. The everyday wooden chair that one would find at their grandmother’s house or at the local resteraunt, has four wooden legs, a seat and a back. Generally speaking, you and I both will walk right into a room and plop ourselves right down onto that chair without giving it a second thought, and why is this? It is because we have trained ourselves to belive that the chair will hold us up without falling no matter how much we weigh or how many times someone has set down in that particular chair. Although there is nothing that can physicaly confirm our belief that the chair will hold up our weight, we simply belive, and that my friend is Faith, the belief that something you do not know or something that you cannot prove is indeed the truth. Because over a period of time, we have witnessed the fact that the chair in question, or one of similar design, has held our weight before, time and time again in fact, we choose to believe; thereby, exhibiting faith. Now, let’s talk about this thing called faith.

The Bible tells us in the third chapter of St. John that God our Heavenly Father had sent Jesus Christ to this earth two thousand years ago, not to condemn us, but to save us from the sin filled world in which we live. This sin filled world has an uncanny attraction that can’t be understood nor can it seemingly be resisted; although we know the wages of sin is death, and we know that by all acounts that the sin of this world will destroy us, we just cannot seem to let it go. The prince of this world is indeed strong, and his plan to destroy mankind appears to be operating as a well oiled machine; however, God has another plan for you and I, a plan to restore us, redeem us, reinvigorate us, and give to us the great gift of salvation. Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, came into this world, that according to the book of John chapter one was not created without Him, to give to us the freely given gifts of liberty, freedom, salvation, and everlasting life, but how? how do we attain these freely given gifts? Well, it is actually fairly easy, we simply believe. (John 3:15-17) Although this may sound complicated, it is really a very simple thing to understand, if we have Faith, and if we Believe that Jesus Christ is the only Begotten Son of God the Father, we shall receive these freely given gifts; most noticeably, the gift known as Everlasting Life. These gifts are freely given, and not anything we can earn by our own hand, as they are purely provided to us through God’s Grace, Mercy and Love, it is up to us to do what it takes to attain these gifts, and that starts by believing Jesus is the Son of God.

So, what comes next? Well, believing is absolutely the first step, the Bible tells us that without Faith, it is impossible to please God, (Heb.11:6) so believing and having faith are definitely the first steps; yet, there is so much more to a life lived with God and for God. In the book of Acts chapter nineteen, Paul asked a young group of followers, new to the faith, if they had yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost since they believed to which they replied, "we have not so much heard wether there be any Holy Ghost." After hearing this response, Paul stated to them that which Peter explained so powerfully in Acts chapter two, verses fourteen through forty, although there is not enough room to qoute the entire set of verses here, I will share with you a few of the more famous verses among this group, culminating in one of the most well known,and often repeated,  verses, Acts 2:38...

Acts 19:3,4
And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus...

Acts 2:37,38
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost...

So, what does this all mean? Now that is a great question, and here is the very simple answer, once we believe, once we have stated before God and man that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, we are ready to take the next step, repenteance. Repenteance, or to repent, means that we literally turn away from our past, our sin, and our mistakes, we then turn toward God and ask Him to be our guide; we declare that we will follow Him, forsaking all other gods and ungodly desires. According to Dictionary.com, the word repent means “to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better.” So after we repent and urn away from our old ways, we begin moving towards the next step which is Baptism. Baptism is the full immersing of oneself into a pool or body of water with the understanding that the power isn't actually in the water, but in what the water represents, the act of publicly declaring to both God and man and announcing that Jesus Christ is Lord; yet more importantly, it represents the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In essence, we have been buried in death and raised again to life with Christ; therefore, it is no longer we who live, but Christ Jesus who lives within us. (Galatians 2:20) Now, after baptism, we finally, arrive at the third and most important step, and that is the receiving of the Power and Presence of God through the Holy Ghost living within us and through us, guiding us as we liveout our daily lives. Now, as we move on from here, I feel that it is important to state to you that all of these things may not happen in the exact order as listed here; however, if we are to live a successful life for God and with God, we must follow all of these steps as they have been layed out by Christ as foundations and pinnacles of our faith and beliefs.

Acts chapter one, verse eigh gives us a promise directly from Christ Jesus Himself, a promise that once the Holy Ghost is upon us, we shall receive Power, and the fruition of this promise was realised by the Apostles, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, the brothers of Jesus, and several others numbering120 individual men and women in the upper room fifty days after the resurection in the city of Jerusalem on what we know as the Day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:2-4
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

When the presence of the Holy Ghost comes upon us, there is always some type of physical response, whether it is a shout, a leap, a jump, speaking in tongues, or just standing to your feet, there is always a physical and notable response when we allow the Holy Spirit to take charge of our lives. For some, it is this notable and physical response that then forces the  individual to repent and turn and turn away from their sinful and wreckless fleshly desires, while for others, it is the act of baptism, immersion and emersion, that causes the overwhelming presence of God to infill then; thus, causing the Holy Spirit to become active in his or her life. At other times, there may be a powerful sermon brought forth by the preacher or the suttle message of a sunday morning hymn or worship song by the choir that brings forth the Power and Might of the Holy Ghost, regardless od just how or why the presence of the Lord arrived, or what caused the fire to explode within them, there is always an undeniable change once the Holy Spirit is manifest on the lives of the believer.

That very same Power  that was unleashed on the Day of Pentecst, that very same Power that was spoken of by the Prophet Joel, and that same Power mentioned by Jesus in Acts chapter one is available to you and I today, if only we would find it within ourselves to Believe. (I Corinthians 12) If one would take the time to read the book of Acts, we would find that through the Power of the Holy Ghost, chains were literally broken asunder, the sick were healed of a multitude of ailments, the dead were raised, the deaf where made to hear once again, prison doors were torn apart opened wide, those that had been lost in sin were found, lives were changed forever, and so much more, all through the Power and the Presence of the Holy Ghost and the strength of  Faith... 

Just like the old four legged chair, and the Old Rugged Cross, all we must do is have Faith and Believe... God Bless... Amen...  


Proverbs 1:23 Turn you at My reproof: behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you, I will make know My Words unto you..


Friday, December 26, 2014

Grace, Mercy, and Love for God...

God's Grace, Mercy, and Love for us is the sole purpose that any of us are alive today. Sure, it was our biological parents that, through the act of coitus and the miracle of conception, gave birth to us, but without the breathe of life that only God can provide, we'd be nothing but a pile of ooze, water, salt and a few minerals. Without the life giving touch of God, we'd be nothing at all, wether in the physics or the spiritual, we all need God to survive; however, knowing and understanding that we need God, and actually loving God is two very different things, and it's my duty to inform you that simply knowing is just not enough...

James 2:19

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble...


So as we can see, simply knowing that there is a God, simply understanding that without Him, there is no life isn't good enough for, we must act on those beliefs. As we read through the second chapters of James, we can clearly see that Faith without works is dead; in other words, we can believe God for everything; however, if we do not act on that belief according to the Word of God, what good is it? and based on the Word of God found in James chapter two, works without faith is dead as well, and the same can be said about Grace as well...

God is full of Grace, Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, and a plethora of other wonderfully beautiful attributes; however, if we have received Grace, Mercy, Forgiveness, and Love from the father, through Jesus Christ, yet we have not reciprocated that love and emotion through our lives, and through our praise, and through our worship, what truly have we done? it would appear to me that we have not done anything more than attempt to mock the One True Living God. Now, I can hear it now, those who say that God's Grace is all forgiving and His love covers everyone in and on this earth, and to them, I say yes, that is absolutely true; however, the question or concern isn't wether or not God loves us, but rather, do we love God...

John 14:15,23
If ye love me, keep my commandments... Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him...

If we Love God, we will keep His commandments, this is the key statement right here, and the key word in this statement has only two letters, I and F, they spell out the word IF. You see, the fact that God loves us has long been established, the fact that He is merciful and full of grace has also been established; therefore, we can say with all honesty that no matter who you are and what you have done, God loves you and He will also love you. There is this attitude or mantra going around that because Jesus loves me, and because He already gave His life, and because He has already risen, then we can do whatever we want to do with no regard for others, nor any expectation of punishment, we simply declare that God is graceful and plan out our next round of sin; unfortunately, this is not how salvation truly works, once again, if we love God, we will keep His commandments...

Psalm 91:14-16 
Because he (us) hath set his love upon Me, (God) therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation...

James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him...

Those that love God will be Blessed, but how does one show that he or she truly loves God? As we read in the second chapter of James, simply saying I believe isn't enough, for even the demons know that there is only one God. Perhaps by doing good things and treating everyone nicely we can show that God that we love Him; actually, no we cannot, once again if we continue to read in the James chapter two, we can see that good works are simply not enough to, there is another requirement. The book of Hebrews, specially chapter eleven, is often called the Faith Book due to the fact that it talks mainly about the importance of faith, and what faith actually is; however, in that chapter we also find a very important piece of information,  and that is piece of information tells us exactly how to please God...

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please him : for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him...


According to Hebrews chapter eleven and verse six, it is virtually impossible for us to please unless we believe that He is truly God, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him, so let's take a look at what it means to diligently seek God. According to Dictionary.com, the word diligently means to put forth a constant effort, to be attentive and persistent, or to pursue with painstaking attention, diligence. Now, let's look at the word seek, again our source is Dictionary.com, and our definition is this, to go in search of or to quest, to try to find or discover, or to try to obtain. So, I'm not sure about you, but to me, it seems that to diligently seek sounds a lot like love. When we find that special someone, the one that we want to spend eternity with, do not we put forth a constant effort to obtain, and keep, their affection? When we love someone, do don't we pursue them with painstaking attention and diligence? So in order to please God, do not we need to do the things that prove we love Him? And what are those things, are not they the same things we do for our husbands and wives? Yes, absolutely it is, we do whatever pleases them, we do whatever they ask us to do, and that is exactly how we please God, we do exactly what He has asked us to do, we follow His commandments...

God's Grace, Mercy, Love, and Forgiveness is exactly why we are all alive today, let us give thanks and show love to God by keeping His commandments to the best of our ability. We all know that no one is perfect, and God knows that as well, He knows that we will make mistakes, and that is why He gave us Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Mighty example and the sacrificial lamb, He paid the cost for our mistakes with His Blood, and each time we purposely sin, we place Him back on the cross again; instead of placing Him back on the cross, let us show our love for Him by using the Grace He has given us as a reason to love Him and the strength we need to keep His commandments... God Bless... Amen... 

For more info, please read: (Romans 8:28, Hebrews 5:8-9, Hebrews Ch.6, II  Corinthians 4:15, Galatians 1:6, Ephesians Ch.5) 







Monday, December 15, 2014

Revival Within Us...

(Originally posted on my Facebook page)

I was awaken early this morning with the thought and urge to pray for revival in Austin, Texas, but not the type of revival in which we have a special guest speaker or an extra evening church service, but the type of revival that actually revives the Spirit within us to do more. How many churches have noticed a lag in attendance, participation, or any other of the key areas? How many churches have had to cut programs or eliminate special services that where once common place? Why is this? It is because the believers, you and I, have lost that burning passion for our first love, we have replaced that joy we had after we where renewed in the Holy Ghost with a passion to enjoy the things of this world. Christmas, one of the most precious and cherished times of the year for the believer has been replaced with x-mas, instead of a time of happiness and reflection on the birth of our Lord and Savior, it has become a time of shopping sprees and gift exchanges in which the name of Jesus is rarely if ever mentioned...
Today, I have been praying for the type of revival to breakout within us that directs us, drives us, and pushes to call out to the Lord for our families, for our friends, for our neighbors, for the lost, and for those who have never felt the warm embrace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, as I have spoken or written about on many other occasions, there will be a time when the Spirit of the Lord no longer dwells among man; however, that time isn't now, right now His Grace, Mercy, and Love is here for us, right now His Spirit dwells amongst us and within us, right now His Holy Ghost Power is freely given, for all to receive, and right now is the time to revive that Holy Ghost Power within ourselves so we can give it out to others, so we can show them a better way, so that when the time come, we can all enjoy the presence of the Lord…

The time for revival is now, for one day soon, those who have been redeemed, renewed, and revived shall flow upon the mountain top to the house of the Lord, there will be no more sorrow, no more pain, and no more war. In that time, which surely comes quickly, we will all live as one, learning of the ways of God, nations will live in peace, the animals will run and play, and the weapons of war shall be no more, and it begins with you and I, today, right now, when we pray on one accord for revival…

Micah 4:1-3
But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord , and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more…

As I come to a close, tears have began to fill my eyes and reach down my face, flowing past my cheeks; however, these are not tears of pain or fear, they are tears of joy. You see, as the word teaches, our pain may endure for the night, but soon the joy will arrive, and yes, it begins within us, a revival of the Holy Spirit within us that flows out to our families, friends, neighbors, cities, states, nations, and eventually our world…

Imagine that day when mothers no longer bury children, brothers no loner mourn for their sisters, imagine if you will that day when the seventy-five year old goes running and frolicking with his grandchildren and the lions lay down together with the lamb. Revival is the key that starts it all, prayer on one accord, regardless of tradition or denomination; but, it must start here, now, with you and I. If I pray, and you pray, and we pray, and they pray... Oh what a mighty force we become, our quiet little prayers will begin to hum, and then to rumble, and then they become a roar... Oh yes, Revival…

Connect With Me…

Follow Me…

Contact Me...

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Potter and The Vessel...

Today, I would like to focus on those of us who are young in the faith, or maybe at a point in our lives in which we are struggling, unsure of what to do next, or perhaps do not know where to turn. Although I have been a Spirit filled believer for some time now, I must admit that I too have been in these types of situations myself, especially during my recent health scare. Because I have had many of these same feelings of confusion and doubt, I truly understand and empathize with those who have felt these same feelings. 

Over the past year and a half, for those who may not know, I had a spinal injury and bacterial infection that not only threatened to permanently remove the use of my legs, but it also threatened to end my life; however, God proved Himself faithful, and here I am writing this letter of love to you. Now, in hindsight, I know that God was with me every step of the way; however, while I was in the valley of indecision, facing such a frightening outcome, it was very hard to see God's face for the many tears and fears that were clouding my vision...

Eventually, after realizing that my anger, frustration, and self pity was only hurting my relationship with God and in no way could help me to recover during this very difficult time. During this season of tribulation, I refused to pray, read the Word, of in anyway acknowledge God. I felt that although I had been God's faithful servant, He abandoned me and left me alone and defenseless; however, I would soon learn this couldn't be further from the truth. Eventually, I came to myself after realizing that if one of the greatest men of God, not only in my life, but in the world today, Bishop Kenneth Phillips, would have fight for his life against cancer, who am I to believe that somehow I should be exempt from the diseases and plagues of this world...

In the bible, Job was described as a righteous man, he loved God and followed the ways of God without question. Job honored God in all his ways, he payed alms not only for himself, but for his family, and yet, he suffered great loss, facing horribly painful illnesses, the loss of his family, and almost everything he owned and everything he loved; yet and still, he remained faithful to God. You see, Job realized that no matter what happened, God was always in control; in all things, good or bad, God's hand were moving and molding, touching and guiding, smoothing and redirecting, creating man into the very image of God Himself...

Although God is always in control, it is important to remind ourselves that God has given us all "free-will" which means that we have the power to decide for ourselves what, when, why, where, and how things work and flow in our lives. Jesus Christ is indeed Lord of All, John chapter one tells us that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, and without Him not anything was made that was made... Jesus is that Word. When God created the world, He spoke it into existence over a matter of days; therefore, just as in the creation of the world, there was a process and order of operation, there is a process for everything in our lives today, including the restoration of our lives, and it's up to us to initiate that process in our lives today, this leads us up to where we are now, the process of rebuilding our lives today...

Before we can rebuild our lives, before I could rebuild myself or my own life, I had to first understand one thing, God has created you and I for a purpose, after I grabbed ahold of this and I mean really believed it, my rebuilding process could begin. As we have lived our lives the way we have chosen to live them, we  have moved away from the plan God originally established for us; in affect, we have broken our lives, and now we have become broken vessels. Now, becoming a broken vessel isn't exactly a bad thing, in all honestly, it is the perfect thing, it allows God to repair us and mold us into what it is He desires us to be in the plan He had established since before the dawn of creation...

Jeremiah 18:1-6
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord . Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand...

During my health scare, I was physically broken, and I truly needed God to heal me physically, and He has done that through the hands of an excellent surgeon and other medical staff and rehab technicians; yet, more importantly, I was spiritually broken, I was a broken vessel, and only God's hands could restore my spirit. You see, when we are broken in our spirit, there is nothing that we can do to repair it ourselves, we need the help of the Great Physician, Jesus Christ. Only He can place us on the spiritual potter's wheel, only Jesus can take a broken and battered soul and place it back together; however, if we do not initiate the process, and if we do not "go down to the potter's house," we cannot even begin the repair process, but how do we find our way down to the potter's house? Great question, and here is the very simple answer, we initiate the process, and find our way to the potter's house through constant prayer, fasting, and the reading His Holy Word...

Prayer is literally talking directly to God, and it is an intricate part of the believers daily life; Jeremiah 33:3 states that that if we call Him, He will answer, showing us many great things. As we read the Word and learn of God, we will find that prayer is very important to God, in the Bible, God has mentioned prayer well over three hundred times; in fact, Jesus Himself not only instructs us to pray, but also teaches us exactly how to pray in Matthew chapter six, leading us in what has become known as the Lord's Prayer, one of the most well known passages of any sort in history. As stated above, the first chapter of John has established that the Word of God is God; therefore, the best way to learn of God, and to become the type of vessel God can work with and restore is to read the Word of God found in the Holy Bible. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus not only quotes the Old Testament, but He asked those around Him, "have you not read," (Matt.19:4) this means that Jesus expects us to not only read the Word, but to have a basic understanding of what it is we are reading, and we can only do this by studying the Word of God closely...

So, here we are, the moment of truth... This is where I tell you that on Sunday I accepted Christ and by Wednesday I was all brand new... No, that's not how it goes... The renewal process is neither quick nor swift, it is a slow process that includes both ourselves and God communicating through prayer as we surrender ourselves to the hands of God... When I was in the hospital for approximately five months, and when I was on bed rest for two months following my return home from the hospital, I spent a large majority of my time in prayer… Reading, writing, and studying the word of God... As I did these things, I began to acquire an elevated understanding of God, and with this elevated understanding came increased Faith, and with this increased Faith came a higher level of power, healing, and strength... 

This my friend is what a life with Christ is all about, we push forward, living, learning, and seeking after God; all the while, we allow God to place us on the potter's wheel so that He can mold us, guide us, and recreate us into the vessel He had originally planned for us to be... BUT, we must first allow ourselves to be broken, as only a broken vessel can be reformed and rebuilt by the hands of God into that vessel which God can use...

Isaiah 64:8
But now, O Lord , thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand...





Monday, November 10, 2014

The Juniper Tree

Recent times for many of us have been very difficult; in fact, I have talked to several individuals who wish that there was a fast forward button if which they could press and jump straight into the new year, ushering in the new year before this one has even been completed, while others still have often wondered is death not better than life?. Why is this, does not this year still have more to offer? Is death not actually better than life? Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, that he too felt that those who had passed on, or those who had never lived where in some way better off because they were not forced to endure the vanity and nonsense of this world. (Ecc.4:1-4) Now, is it wrong to feel this way, or is it a natural part of life? Is it fear and pain that cause us to feel this way, and if so, what should we do about it? These are indeed great questions, and for the answers, let us go into the Word of God...
 
In the book of I Kings, chapter nineteen, Elijah, a prophet of the Lord, was in fear for his life after receiving a message from Jezebel; therefore, he fled for his life, seeking refuge in the wilderness. (I King 19:1-4) After arriving in the wilderness, Elijah found solace in the shadows of a juniper tree after which he prayed unto God the Father saying "O' Lord, I am not better than my (earthly) fathers," and he God asked to take his life. Now, we can clearly see that in very tough situations, it is almost a natural impulse for us to feel that death is a viable solution, even I, during the early days of the physical ailment which had attacked my body, felt as if death would be a much better alternative than feeling the intense pain and loss of mobility that I was feeling at that time; however, God always has provision for us during these times, we must simply wait patiently, seek His face, and move when He instructs us to do so...
 
I Kings 19:5-8
And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the Lord came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb (Mt. Sinai) the mount of God...
 
As we can see, when the story began, Elijah was under severe pressure, threats had been made on his life, he was afraid, rushing through the wilderness, lacking physical substance and spiritual strength; however, God made a way. As the story unfolds, we can see that God did not leave his prophet and servant alone, He indeed made a way for Elijah to survive in the wilderness and He protected Him from those who sought to take His life. Just as God sent His angel to Elijah and just as He provided for the physical needs of food and water needed to survive, and just as God provided the spiritual guidance Elijah needed to recover and be strengthened in his time of weakness, God will do the same for us today, He has done it, and continues to do it, for me, and He will do it for you as well...
 
While I was in the hospital, seemingly strapped to that hospital bed for months, only arising with the assistance of others to wobble to the "facilities," or to endure the agonizing pain of physical therapy, I learned to recognize, appreciate, and invite the presence of God and His Angels. Spending five months in the hospital can be very difficult for anyone; however, it was much more agonizing for me as I had grown accustomed to my life of going, going, and gone, I was always on the move, if i was not at church, I was at a Bible study, an outreach, or some other adventure, yet now, all I had was pain and time...
 
During this season of both pain and time, I learned that the only way to to defeat the pain was with joy, but not just any joy, but the Joy of the Lord, for the Joy of the Lord is my strength. During this season, I learned that there are many plains or levels of intimacy with God, and it is only by seeking His face early, often, and with reverence will we reach the ultimate level of loosing our own identity in the identity of Christ Himself. You see, through the pain, the suffering, the cries of pain and sorrow, and the thoughts of death, I found myself in a spot in which there were no other alternatives than to wrap myself in the loving arms of the one who had created me, and so I did that, and now I truly know the love of God, and there is no better place to be, there is no better feeling, I am in  Christ, and Christ is in me, I am His and He is mine... Those thoughts of death have been replaced with a desire to live and share God's Love with everyone around me, and of course, that includes you my friend... May God Bless you all, and when you find yourself in that dark space, perhaps you should take a moment and find rest under the Juniper Tree... Amen...
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Holy Spirit Within Us...

Today, I would like to talk to you about the Power of Pentecost... Now, before we get started, I wish to make it clear, we are not talking about a particular church, denomination, or orginization, we are talking about the Power that was given to the Paul and the Apostles, Mary the Blessed Mother of Jesus, and many other devout men and women as described in the Holy Bible... Now, before we can go any further, we need to understand why these men and women were in the Holy City of Jerusalem. The tradition of the day required that if it was at all possible, the followers of Judaism were required to return to Jerusalem for all major festivals, feast, and Holy Days; this was the second reason the men,women, and Apostles were there in Jerusalem, the first reason was quite simple, because Jesus told them to go there... 
 
Luke 24:49
And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high...
 
So, Jesus instructed them to go to Jerusalem and wait patiently until you are filled with power, and this was the first reason they were there... the second reason they were there is for the feast of Pentecost, a Holy day for the Jewish people...
 
Pentecost is a feast that is celebrated fifty days after the Passover feast, which those who follow Christ presently know as Resurrection Sunday, or Easter; hence the name, Pentecost. Now, during the feast of Pentecost, the followers of Judasim, those who believed in the one true God, would come from miles around. The people would come from many ancient cities, not just locally, but worldwide. During the days of the major feast, it was not uncommon to see individuals from Europe, Asia, Africa, and all of the countries and areas known at that time...
 
Now that we have a little history describing the importance and significance of the Day of Pentecost in general, I'd like to share the imporatnce of Pentecost to you and I... Pentecost means that we no longer have to wait to have a high priest enter into the temple for us once a year, we no longer have to offer sacrifices of blood and meat to atone for our sin, because of Pentecost, we have a direct relationship with God our Heavenly Father...
 
Acts 1:8
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you...
 
When we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become the recipients of the gifts and promises of the Holy God, and that includes the gift of His Holy Spirit, living within us, guiding us, and providing us with strength and power we need to make through anything and everything that comes against us... These gifts are given to each and everyone, men, women, children, grandparents, everyone...
 
Acts 1:13-14
And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren...
 
Acts 2:1-6
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language...
 
Praying on one accord, waiting patiently, following the instructions that Jesus Christ has left for us... These are the steps to receiving all the gifts that God has for us, including the gift of the Holy Spirit...
 
Think about it, do you remember  that moment when you realized God was real... Not when your parents told you, not when "Abuelita" told you, but when you felt it in your heart, when you looked up and you saw Him, think about that feeling when God answered a prayer, or when there seemed to be no way out at all, you knew it, your friends knew it, your family knew it, and everyone knew it, but then, inexpectible, it happened, you made it through the darkness... And you know it was God, how did you feel? That's it my friends, that's the beginning of the Holy Ghost acting on your behalf, acting within you, guiding you, and when you completely give in... That feeling will become stronger than ever, you'll feel it boiling up within you and then bursting out like a Holy explosion of faith and love...
 
Pentecost isn't about a religion or denomination, it's about the presence of God living within you... Baptist, Catholic, COGIC, Methodist, Apostolic. None of these labels we give ourselves even matter, it's the relationship that we have individually with the Living God, its about the dedication, love, and unity we show one another as children of God... It is about the Power to live as God has instructed us to live through His Holy Word...
 
As a minister, I have the opportunity to witness this feeling in others at the altar call after Sunday and Wednesday services, I can witness the change in the lives of others during the prayers services, and in the Bible studies, wherever there are Children of God, wherever there is love, there resides the presence of the Holy Ghost... And wherever the Holy Ghost is, there is Power... And where there is Power... Lives are Changed... Chains are shattered... Addictions are Broken... And the People of God receive Freedom! This is the Power of Pentecost... The Day God unleashed His Power unto us...
 
And it all began at Pentecost, fifty days after the Resurrection, the faithful few, gathered in prayer in the upper room... The Power of the Holy Ghost was revealed and given unto  men... Now, that very same Power is available to you and I today... The Power of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, poured out unto each and everyone of us who are willing to receive... Call on the Lord, He will answer, and you will receive the Greatest Gift of all... God's Holy Spirit living within us... God's Holy Spirit living within you... God Bless... Amen...
 
Have you had an upper room experience? if so, tell others about it in the comments section...
If you have not, would you like to find out more? contact me by clicking the link below:
 
 
 
 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Flip Flop

Today's weather is a complete "flip flop" from what we are used to this time of year in Austin TX, as a matter of fact, it's a complete change from just this time last week, but as always, we adjust and keep moving...

In life, our situations can sometimes flip flop on us as well, from one moment to the next, our lives can go from full speed ahead to straight reverse and backwards in what seems like a split second; quick, fast, and in a hurry. Last year about this time, I noticed a pain in my back, it started off as just a nuisance, yet it would grow into something that nearly took my life, the ultimate "flip flop" was about to take place in my life.

From what began as a minor back pain would cause me to temporarily lose the use of my legs. From that minor back pain, I would go on to have five surgeries, from that minor back pain, I would eventually be forced to enter the fight of my life. Bacterial infections, resulting from the surgery performed to repair a bulging and herniated disc, had taken hold and infected what seemed to be every part of my body. My blood, my muscle tissue, my bone, and even my spinal fluid were infected which eventually lead to a bout of Meningitis which could have taken my life, but God stepped in and changed everything...

Psalm 18:30-33
As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the Lord ? or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds' feet , and setteth me upon my high places...

Now, I must admit that at the time, I was not happy at all, I was afraid, I was angry, I was frustrated, and because of this, I questioned God. Bewildered, I simply could not understand why this had to happen to me, after all, what had I done to deserve this? I followed God's direction as closely as possible and yet, the I lay. While I layed there there in that hospital bed, wondering what was going on, and what would happen next, I began to pray and was immediately drawn to the verses listed above, and I just began to give God Glory...

You see, I'd forgotten that God is the one and only Sovereign God, He sits on the throne of Grace, His ways are perfect, and He is in complete control; basically, God can do what He wants to do, when He wants to do it. Now, as the one and only Sovereign God, He has all power in the palm of His hands. With All power, God can do as He pleases, when He pleases, He sets the sun high up in the sky, He tells the stars when to shine, He hears our prayers and He heals the abused, the battered and the broken... And so, He healed me...

You see, I had learned to place all of my trust in God, I fell in love with the Holy scriptures, I learned to be truly humble before the Lord, and finally, I learned to declare to God His own Promises as presented in the Bible...

God is not a man that He should lie; therefore, by declaring His Word and His Promises to Him, God being faithful honored them just as He has done since the beginning of time...

God is Forever Faithful, He is the Rock of our Salvation, He is the giver of life and all good things, and He always delivers on His Promises... Today, place your trust in God, and He'll never let you down... God Bless... Amen...